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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    20-something voters: ‘Jersey Shore’ can wait, nation’s future can’t

    Americans are kind of making America worse lately, if you haven’t noticed. People in their 20s are probably too young to know where it started, or how — but we’re the product of a country that’s forgotten its values.

    We’re the generation that was a large part of the 8.45 million people who, according to CNN Entertainment, tuned in to watch such cultural gems as the third-season premiere of the “Jersey Shore.”

    Yet despite the fact that more than 8 million people can find the time to watch an episode of garbage — just think about all the other mind-numbing shows people in their 20s are watching any given night — only 52 percent of people ages 18 to 29 voted in 2008. In 2010, only 24 percent of this age group voted, according to estimates from The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement based on 2010 U.S. Census data.

    Now, that was still 23 million voters in 2008 and 10.8 million voters in 2010, but those numbers should have been five times higher. The amount of people enjoying mindless entertainment should be incomparable to the number of voters participating in elections.

    That isn’t to say people shouldn’t watch mindless entertainment or that mindless entertainment is the reason people don’t vote and that America sucks because of it. This is just the tip of the problem — things go much deeper.

    The rest of the problem is highlighted in the HBO show “The Newsroom.” Instead of displaying alcohol abuse and the hedonistic, self-centered lifestyle that makes America such a shame, the show highlights and discusses real issues.

    When it’s not focusing on the lives of the characters, “The Newsroom” displays how American politics and media are skewed. The story lines of the show reveal that major news outlets report over-hyped, sensationalized, attention-grabbing stories, rather than real news pieces Americans can learn from.

    It illustrates the atrocity of American political discourse and that, even if some people do vote, voters’ opinions are often based on any number of terrible reasons instead of educated research. Americans are more concerned about what a candidate listens to on his or her iPod than a candidate’s accountability.

    What does this have to do with people ages 18 to 29? Isn’t this a problem for the whole country?
    Not for long.

    The baby boomer generation makes up a substantial part of the country’s population, and it’s on its way out. Soon the world will be run by the people you sit next to in class. The old won’t have to worry about the future of anything because they’ll be dead.

    Eventually our generation will have to stop relying on the people who raised us to figure things out. The broken parts of this country are our problem now.

    So what do we do? Vote, for starters, even if your opinions aren’t based on much. That way there’s at least some sort of accountability for the state of the country.

    Next, stop accepting mediocrity in politicians, policies and reporters. It was funny to laugh at people like Sarah Palin for a while, but now they might actually end up in charge of something because of American negligence. Demand that people take responsibility.

    Most of all, remember that you’re not the only one in this country. Of course everyone has their own set of values, but don’t let unimportant details get in the way of an informed decision — the most obvious example being a candidate’s race or religion.

    Should it matter if a candidate is a Christian, Muslim, Jew, atheist, Hindu or Buddhist if they can help the country stay on track? Does it matter if they’re white, black, Asian or Middle Eastern? No, all that matters is what they say and can do.

    Holding a whole country accountable for itself isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a necessity. Besides, if we can, then who cares how much terrible television anyone watches? At least the important things — like the future of America — will have been dealt with first.

    — Jason Krell is the copy chief of the Arizona Daily Wildcat. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @Jason_Krell.

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